POLITICS
05/30/2018 17:42 EDT | Updated 05/30/2018 17:42 EDT

Nathan Cullen Mocks Trans Mountain Deal: 'Liberals Do Know It's Not Legal To Smoke Weed Until August, Right?'

"Because this idea makes no sense at all."

NDP MP Nathan Cullen speaks in the House of Commons on May 30, 2018.
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NDP MP Nathan Cullen speaks in the House of Commons on May 30, 2018.

A veteran NDP MP had his colleagues in stitches Wednesday with colourful criticism of the Liberal government's move to buy Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline and the core assets related to its expansion for $4.5 billion.

"Liberals do know it's not legal to smoke weed until August, right? Because this idea makes no sense at all," Nathan Cullen said in question period.

Cullen rose in the House of Commons to rail against Liberals for buying a "65-year-old pipeline" and expanding its capacity despite objections from many Indigenous communities.

"Only Liberals would try to force through a pipeline and tankers through traditional First Nations territory and call that reconciliation. And only this prime minister would call himself a climate change leader and then be willing to spend $15 billion on a diluted bitumen pipeline to China," Cullen said.

That $15-billion figure was in reference to an assessment from the National Observer.

Cullen even worked in a dig at how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tends to stick to a careful script when it comes to defending his approach to resource projects.

"Watch, he's about to say the environment and the economy must go together," he said.

The prime minister noted that Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, whose economic approach federal New Democrats used to "celebrate," is a big fan of the decision. Trudeau said that both his government and Notley's understand the importance of getting resources to new markets and, at the same time, putting a price on carbon pollution.

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"The economy and the environment go together," Trudeau said.

Cullen then highlighted how the prime minister told Bloomberg Tuesday that Kinder Morgan walked away from the table because uncertainty around the project made it "too risky for a commercial entity."

"What? If it's too risky for an oil pipeline company to build an oil pipeline, why is it okay for the Canadian public to pick up all of that risk?" he asked.

Trudeau again touted how happy the "NDP premier of Alberta" was with Ottawa's decision to support what he called a job-producing project in the national interest.